Monday, March 20, 2017


March 20, 2017
Monday 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Faith Church
2201  42nd Street, Manitowoc, WI  54220
   Faith Church is located next to Festival Foods
   Not far from the Manitowoc exit off Interstate 43

Page Turning Mystery and Emotion is our topic this month. Susan Marlene will teach the class. Bring your paper, pens and or computer to be ready for wisdom tucked between the pages of The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass! Are you ready to experience the amazing journey of writing with the pacing and rhythm that you were born to express?

We are a safe place to share. We invite you to bring your
WIP (Work in progress!) for a five minute read.

The prompt for this March is…
The Mysterious __________________________ in my life.
Use your imagination for this one!

We will share a couple of book titles that research writing mystery and integrating emotion for your WIP!

Bring your favorite coffee or tea with you! J

As always, if you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to contact Becky McLafferty or

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"A Royal Chritstmas Wedding" by Rachel Hauck


Rachel Hauck’s A ROYAL CHRISTMAS WEDDING, The Royal Wedding Series

As Christmas 2016 approached, our Pens of Praise readers group wanted a short, yet appealing read. We selected A Royal Christmas Wedding from The Royal Wedding Series. Avery Truitt and Prince Collin of Brighton Kingdom have a past. How can they move beyond that to have a future—or will they? This story has a charming sense of humor sprinkled throughout, as well as depth. The character’s emotions and reasons for ‘why’ they do what they do, make these pages hard to close at night. I know for I’ve experienced this! Her varied and unique characters made me feel as though I’ve met them on the street while out shopping.

Rachel has a marvelous way of bringing the mystique of God’s presence into the lives of common everyday people—or shall I say her characters in her novels and novellas. This is not an overdone quality, but something extra that pulls me into her stories on a deeper level.   I love the thrill of excitement that charms my heart when I reach those places where her character’s predicaments are full of mystery, which ever stirs my thoughts beyond my everyday experience.

This reader was captivated from the very first line. I’m a sucker for pretty language and uncompromising excellence concerning layering depth and emotion that is genuine and relatable. Yes, you may wonder why I’m writing about a Christmas story when most of us long for spring and warmer weather. The reason is—because I can!  So, I’m extending a challenge to you and to myself. I wish to read Christmas stories throughout this whole year. Cold weather or hot. Can you read with me? Share with me what you are reading.

 Rachel Hauck is a favorite with our Pens of Praise readers group.  I hope that you will give this author a try. A Christmas Wedding offers discussion questions in the back of the book, which can enrich any book club experience or private read. I’ve enjoyed Avery and Colin’s challenges and victories and I invite you to do the same. Once you do, don’t hesitate to come back here and tell us what you thought.

Questions for Rachel:

1)      You used the mystery of the Lord’s involvement with mankind in your story once again! Very appealing, I must say. How did you come up with the Pembroke Chapel Bell legend? Was this interesting thread from some history or legend you found when researching?
RH: The idea for the chapel came from reading another book set in Scotland. I kept expecting the characters to come across some “mystery” but they never did. So, I hooked my feeling into an idea for A Royal Christmas Wedding. I knew it needed something beyond the natural to tie my two characters together and keep with a bit of a fairytale feel. I made up the legend.   

2)      What a beautiful mix of grief from loss and new life from a birth soon to happen. Did you intend to present life’s contrast from the conception of this story?
RH: A lot of times the contrasts just appear as I’m writing. If I notice them I pause to see if I can develop them more. If not, I just leave them as reader candy. 😊

3)      There is a fairytale magic in the way that you share Avery and Colin’s story. Did a particular fairytale inspire this Christmas novella?
RH: I’ve wanted to write a Christmas story for awhile but never had the chance. When Avery emerged as such a strong character in Once Upon A Prince, I knew she needed her own story. I might have mentioned the idea to my publisher but almost a year past before we agreed to do a Christmas wedding for Avery’s story. I’m so glad I had a chance to write it.

4)      What is your favorite fairytale of all?
RH: Cinderella. I’ve seen the animated version a dozen times, the latest live action film a few times and even saw it on Broadway. 😊

5)      What is the first childhood story that you remember being told and did it affect your writing today?
RH: I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I read them over and over. I also loved biographies. I think reading about real people helped me want to write real-to-life characters.

6)      You know many writers and have helped many want-to-be writers, can you give us a few of your favorite authors names. (If this would get you into trouble – your favorite genres you love to read.)
RH: Ooo, well, I have to give a shout out to some of my writing buddies—Susan May Warren, Beth Vogt, Melissa Tagg, Denise Hunter, Colleen Coble, Lisa Wingate and Susan Meissner. I love Becky Wade and Roni Kendig.

I read a lit of literary or mainstream fiction. JoJo Moyes is a recent fun find.

7)      What would you like to share with your readers and would-be readers about the writing or message of this story?
RH: One of the themes that really popped in A Royal Christmas Wedding WAS THE Fatherhood of God over us. Colin had to grow up and learn to hear his heavenly Father above his earthly father. And do it while honoring both. God has a plan and destiny for each and everyone of us. Believe it and lean into it.

8)      Would you share a favorite recipe or simple joy with your readers?
RH: I don’t have recipes. LOL. Sorry. I’m not a recipe collector. But a simple joy for me is sitting out back on my deck, reading, praying, or playing the two chords I know well on the guitar. I can make up a lot of songs with those two chords!

9)      Any last words you would like to share?
RH: Thanks for having me! It’s an honor and a joy!

10)  How do you wish your readers to contact you?
RH: They can find me on social media through my web site at
Thanks so much Susan!!!!

            What a fun interview! Thank you Rachel! You may find Rachel's FB, Twitter, Google+, and     Instagram on her web page!

Monday, March 13, 2017

“An Admirable Scoundrel or Hero I Love”

By Susan Marlene

The character that drew my eye, the one that captured my admiration, is as complex as the making of an éclair. This male presents delicious layers of intelligence and ridiculous goof ups. He is sensitive and insensitive in just the right proportions. He is loyal and moral yet willing to bend the law because of his loyalty and love for his daughter.

When I first saw him, he was in a fight that produced a cut over his right eye—his prison friends’ ritual for leaving their penitentiary to re-enter society again. He moves in with a friend from prison. What is that—a rule breaker?  

This fellow comes from a position of weakness, though his is good looking and smart and clever he is unable to keep a legal job because of the felony he committed when exposing a wrong. Did he learn that doing two wrongs doesn’t make it right during his stint in prison? Certainly not in the beginning of this story.

He is presented an opportunity when his goal is to never “steal stuff” again. But to take hold of the opportunity so that he may redeem his name with his ex-wife in—order to see his daughter again—he must do exactly that. Steal stuff. But this stuff is under the protection of dangerous opposition. There are no guarantees and he actually eventually chooses to steal stuff to save society at large though risking his relationship with his daughter. Who is the hero I love?

Just a note from the éclair WEB page:

You might be able to find an eclair at every bakery on every street corner, but that doesn’t mean it came together in no time. This unassuming pastry requires the mastery of choux pastry, as well as pastry cream and the flavored glaze.

“Ant Man” – The incredible Scott Lang